Environmental Barriers to Wheelchair Use

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Research Design
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Methods

Outcome

Richter et al. 2007b
USA
Case Series
N=26

Population: Mean age=36 yr; Gender: males=19, females=7; Level of injury: paraplegia=24, spina bifida=2; Chronicity=chronic.
Treatment: Propulsion of personal wheelchair on a treadmill set at level, 3° and 6° inclines.
Outcome Measures: Speed; Force, Torque and loading rate; Cadence, Push angle; Power output; Push distance; all averaged over 20-push sets.
  1. All kinematic factors increased significantly when the incline increased from level to 6°: peak handrim force, 1.4 increase; loading rate, 1.3 increase; axial moment, 1.8 increase (p=0.00). Push angle and cadence were not affected.
  2. As the incline increased, distance traveled forward per push dropped (3°, p=0.034; 6°, p=0.00). Subjects utilized approximately 80 and 100 more pushes/km for the 3° and 6° inclines.
  3. Coast time decreased from .43 seconds (level) to .35 seconds (6° incline).
  4. Power output for the downhill wheel increased 1.6 and 2.3 times more than level for 3° and 6° (p=0.00).
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